Why can’t I use my Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets at Disney World or Disneyland during Spring Break or Christmas?
This is a common response that I hear when military families first learn that their military Disney tickets are not valid on certain days.
Since January 2009 the Disney Armed Forces Salute has always had days that the special military discount tickets were not able to be used for admission to Disney’s theme parks or for resort room discounts. Disney calls these days Blockout Dates because the discounts are Blocked from use (some people mistakenly refer to them as blackout dates).
These Blockouts have historically included the week-long period which includes Christmas and New Years, a week or two during Spring Break, and well in the past the Fourth of July was also included.
Each year the Blockout Dates are slightly different, depending on school schedules which affect Disney’s projected attendance levels.
Blockout Dates for the 2023 Disney Armed Forces Salutes
Walt Disney World
Disney Armed Forces Salute TICKET Blockout Dates at Disney World
- There are Ticket Blockout dates for Walt Disney World for the 2023 Salute offer period!
- 2 – 15 April 2023
- 19 – 25 November 2023
Disney Armed Forces Salute ROOM Blockout Dates at Disney World
- None were announced for the 2023 Walt Disney World Armed Forces Salute Room Offer
Disney Armed Forces Salute TICKET Blockout Dates at the Disneyland Resort
- Waiting on 2023 info
Disney Armed Forces Salute ROOM Blockout Dates at the Disneyland Resort
- Waiting on 2023 info
Why Are There Blockout Dates?
Many very frustrated readers have contacted me both recently and over the last couple of years, to ask why there are blockouts. They always want to know, “Why won’t Disney allow me to use the discount military tickets during the only time that I can go to Disney?”
Many feel that since it’s a military salute there should be no exclusion dates.
They don’t want to pull the kids out of school to use the discount at another time when it is available.
Disney’s Motivation for the Salute
Many take Disney’s Armed Forces Salute at the title’s face value, that Disney has made this offer due to their support of the troops. While that definitely is a factor in Disney’s reasoning they do have other more immediate reasons to make these offers.
Many new to military life may be unaware that the recent semi-constant Military Salute offers are a rarity in the history of the Disney Company. In the past Disney did offer one free ticket to military members after Operation Desert Storm. But during the twenty-first century these offers have only come at times of reduced theme park/resort attendance and are designed to draw more people to the Disney vacation destinations.
The current round of Disney Salutes began 4 January 2009 after the start of the late 2008 Financial Crisis.
Prior to this timeframe the previous special offer was in the first half of 2002 during the post 9/11 travel industry downturn.
Prior to the Salute offers all we in the military had in the way of a Disney discount was the slightly discounted regular military discounted Magic Your Way tickets.
Disney Attendance Levels
Disney’s main purpose behind the blockout dates is to dissuade you from coming then, as there are already way too many people in the Disney theme parks!
If you check any Disney Guide Book you’ll note that the timeframes of Disney’s military salute blockout dates are during peak attendance periods. During these timeframes Disney often closes their theme parks to arriving guests during the day due to maximum attendance levels. Only those staying on property are allowed in, others are turned away.
The way Disney looks at this is strictly from a business perspective. If they can fill the parks during those timeframes and actually have to turn away people willing to pay full price, then they’d be crazy to let those paying half price for military tickets block those spots.
How This Helps You
The above is a pragmatic look at Disney’s reasoning. But here is my positive outlook on the situation.
These high attendance days, for lack of better words are simply miserable in the theme parks. There are just way too many people, lines are unbearable, and you’ll be unable to accomplish all that you’d like to do.
I think it’s really a blessing in disguise that you can’t use your Armed Forces Salute tickets during Spring Break or other peak times. It forces you to re-evaluate your vacation schedule and plan to go at another time. You’ll end up thanking yourself because your experience will be so much better during lower attendance periods.
Yes, this may involve taking the kids out of school, but you can take along class/homework and make opportunities to turn the vacation into a learning experience.
Share your thoughts on Blockout Dates in the comments section below!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
Subscribe to Steve's email newsletter to get website updates and news by clicking this link.
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
- Dining Overview Page
- Transportation Overview Page
- Technology Overview Page
- Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort
Military Disney Tips' Recommended Disney Travel Agent
Ears of Experience Disney Only Travel Agency. Military family owned and operated! They know all the ins and outs of Disney military discounts!
Anita Baumann says
Can you clarify for me? I have cllients possibly wanting to do in December for dates that run past December 18. They are armed forces salute eligible but do not currently have these tickets. 1) Can they still buy these ticket? I believe the answer is yes, but wanted to double check. 2) Am I correct that these tickets cannot be used December 19-31?
The Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets are still for sale (just bought some) and will be until 18 Dec 2020. They expire on 26 Sept 2021.
As far as any blockouts for Christmas I’ll say I believe that there are none for WDW. I’m working to try to make sure. There are for DLR (they were on the site before it all started forwarding to the closure page).
Disney World has posted none on their site. I was there a week ago and there was lots of confusion at the guest relations locations. Some couldn’t answer, Disney Springs said there were blockouts 19 Dec-2 Jan, and the MK said they couldn’t see where they were valid after 18 Dec.
I went by Shades of Green and asked. They said their Disney rep had firmly said there were none , but they would check and post on their site if they discovered there were. Their site still doesn’t mention them, so I think it’s settled that there are none.
I’d recommend they print the page that does not have any to take as an emergency backup…
My husband and I are looking to take our family to Disney world next December, but I am unsure what dates Disney usually blocks out for military or if Shades of green is closed during the week of Christmas. We were looking at going December 18-31, but Christmas is on Saturday next year, so I’m a bit concerned about reserving rooms if we can’t go to the parks. Do you have any advice?
He wants to take the family after he returns.
Disney typically ends the military salute discounts in the 18-21 December time range.
The 2021 Disney Armed Forces Salute room discounts end on the 17th.
Currently there is no Salute ticket offer past 26 Sept ’21. If Disney does offer a 2021 Salute ticket offer I’d expect that it would end on the 17th also. Occasionally the room and ticket offer have had different end dates, but always within a day or two.
So your trip dates would fall in the timeframe of no room or ticket discounts (military or otherwise).
Shades of Green is open all year. They have in the past had a length of stay requirement over the Holidays (7 days if I recall right).
your alternatives for tickets would be the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way Tickets or Shades of Green Stars and Stripes passes (if the S&S starts being sold by then).
I was planning a trip for my family to WDW from Dec 21 to Dec 26, 2021. I am AD, however, it looks like there will not be a Salute to Service program in effect during our time there.
What tickets would you advise we buy as a non-Florida resident?
Thank you for the work you put into making this awesome website!
Hey there Steven,
Thanks so much!
Yep, the Disney Armed Forces Salute is never active during the week or so containing Christmas. There are too many people there already and no need to attract more with a discount (all discounts true purpose).
You could use the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way Tickets (these have a higher price at Christmas) to the Shades of Green Stars and Stripes.
I called to make a reservation with the Military Salute discount today. My dates were November 20-26. The rate I was quoted was the same non-discounted rate as Disney’s website. When the cast member checked again he said the Military Salute rate was not applicable during my dates. I guess that means there are block out dates this year?
There are no blockout dates where the Salute discount is not (and never was) available.
What you’ve experienced is part of how the room discounts work in recent years, see this post:
Did you try different variables (room type, resort , slight change in dates)?